Archive for the ‘accelerated muscular development’ Category
Back and Triceps Training
Here is a recent workout compilation that my buddy Mark Gannon and I did.
In it, we are Back and Triceps.
This is a crazy combination. Many people don’t realize that the triceps will assist in the movement pattern of shoulder extension, so when you work Lats and Triceps together, it makes for a freakin’ sick pump with a pre-exhaust factor that is hard to put into words.
I also threw in some Ab Wheel. Sure, it works the core primarily, but I love adding it in on this day because it also works the lats, when you pull back to the starting position, and it hits the triceps hard too, because they have to hold your bodyweight up as well.
In the video, I added text blocks to show the set-and-rep schemes we use, and in some cases the loading. Go through it and you’ll see what I mean.
Try this workout combination and let me know what you think. I bet you will be hooked on this combo as much as I am.
All the best in your training,
Over the last few weeks, I have been doing something that I never thought I would do with any kind of regularity…
Just Prior to My Run
While I have done distance running in the past, the last time I actually remember doing it is around 1998 when I was still playing baseball at Mansfield University.
And really, I am not sure all those “counted” because for many of them, the Seniors on the team would lead our group of pitchers out behind a patch of evergreen trees and have wrestling matches with us underclassmen.
I still remember challenging the biggest pitcher on the team to a “match,” thinking it was all going to be fake, but before I knew it, he picked me up, slammed me to the ground and put me in a cradle, along the lines pulling both traps and rhomboid muscles in my upper back so bad I could barely throw…
Anyway, you might be wondering why I would go from no running for over a decade to running consistently multiple times a week for the last couple of months…
The reason is because in July I am signed up for something called a Warrior Challenge.
This Warrior Challenge consists of 4 individual events. I am not sure of the exact order, but I know that there is the following:
- a Mile Run on the Beach with a 40-pound Ruck Pack
- as many burpees as possible in 2 minutes
- as many Pull-ups as possible
- There is also supposed to be a mystery challenge that could be anything…
So, when I found out about this in March, I stepped on a scale and I was 279-lbs. With a 40-lb Pack, I’d be tipping near 320-lbs and I just didn’t think there was any way possible my back, knees, and ankles would be able to handle it, so I decided I needed to start running and clean up my diet in order to get into condition for this challenge and lose some unneeded excess weight.
Now, since I live in Pennsylvania, there are no mile-long beaches to train on. There are a few spots I know of where there is sand near lakes or creeks, but nowhere near long enough to get me ready for a mile run.
Plus, I was DREADING having to jog on the road. Just thinking about it made my knees hurt.
So, I developed another work-around that is allowing me to get as ready as possible for the Warrior Challenge – Field Running.
Behind my house there is a giant field. It is just grass as far as you can see, but there are also hills and of course the occasional woodchuck hole.
I thought about it, and that terrain seemed to be to be the perfect location for me to get my running work in. Not only does it have rolls, slopes, and inclines in it just like a beach could have, I thought it would be perfect for my back, knees, and ankles, because I would be running on the grass, which would reduce some of the shock and jarring of running.
In April, I started out with bouts of jogging with walking intervals mixed in. When I first started, I could only make it 3 minutes before I was out of breath, thinking I was going to collapse. But I have progressed, much quicker than I anticipated by the way, to longer jogs and fewer breaks for walking.
In addition, in May I started adding chains to my body in order to start mimicking the wearing of the pack. I started out with about 25-lbs of chain. Then, last night, I bumped it up to 49.4-lbs of chain.
This is how awesome your body is and how well you can progress if you stay consistent…
When I started, 3 minutes of jogging nearly killed me, and then I had to mix in a 1 minute walk after every 1 minute of jogging. Last night, with nearly 50-lbs in chain on shoulders, I was able to jog for 5 minutes, then walk for 1 minute, then go 4 minutes jogging, with a 1 minute walk, 4 minutes jogging, 1 minute walking, and then finished with a 4 minute jog.
Is it easy? Hell no. Do I love it? No way. But am I happy I am doing it? Absolutely.
I am 100% confident that I will be able to complete the Warrior Challenge in July and I am enjoying seeing the improvement in both my conditioning and the distance I am covering each time I go out.
Now, taking on the extra cardio ONLY would be absolutely insane. Along with this, I have also completely re-done my diet and I am eating cleaner than I ever have before. The improved eating, which I cover here in another recent post, has also seemed to allow me to train more often than I have in years. most weeks I am getting 4 solid sessions and sometimes 5, whereas for the last year or so I was only getting 3 good sessions in.
What’s my weight now? Well, my coach has asked me not to weigh myself the rest of May, and instead look at inches, so I have taken them along with some “Before” shots, and will compare the information once June hits.
The good news is that with all of this weight loss, I have noticed ZERO loss in strength, which was one of my worries. The other major worry was losing a bunch of muscle, which is what happened when I trimmed down in 2008 when I turned 30, but I think I am doing a much better job with my eating and training this time and less of that is going to take place.
If you are in the same boat I am and know that you want to attain some fat loss, whether because you have some kind of challenge coming up, because Summer is coming and you don’t want to be the Fat Guy/Gal, or if you just want to feel better, then stay tuned DIESELS!
All the best in your training.
P.S. My Strength Training Workouts are very similar to what Smitty covers in AMD. If you are looking for a program to help you put on muscle and take off fat, this is one you should check out: Accelerated Muscular Development:
So here is my problem.
Like many people who train in their own home gym or garage gym, space is often limited.
For instance, I train in a two-car garage, but for the most part, the equipment is only on one side of the garage, because the other side is for the car that belongs to the lady of the house.
The result is that I can’t get everything that I want to have, inside the small space that I have available for me.
For instance, I would love to have a separate bench set-up and squat cage, but I simply don’t have the room, so I bench in my squat cage.
It would be great to have a complete set of dumbbells from 5′s all the way up to 150′s, but I just don’t have the room.
I’d also love to have my cable / weight stack machine right there where everything else is, but the damn thing is so large, it just isn’t going to work, so that unit is pushed off to a completely separate room.
Much of my auxiliary training recently has been based on Super-sets, Pairings, whatever you want to call them… two or more exercises done pretty much back to back.
However, the walk from the main platform to the cable machine I was using for supplemental tricep work was making me crazy, so I needed to find a different way to get the Tricep work in without having to walk a mile during my workout. I mean, the purpose of doing exercises back-to-back is to NOT rest between sets, and the walk between movements was killing my pump.
And let me just say, there is no way I am going to do Dumbbell Tricep Kick-backs. All I can think of every time I have thought about doing them is that there is a paparazzi in a bush outside my house with a camera trying to get a picture of me doing them.
Beyond that neurosis, no matter how heavy or light I go with kick-backs, or how controlled or uncontrolled I do them, I never feel anything the next day. So they are out!
So, I was trying to think of something else I could do that would be easy to set up and that would take up very little room and I came up with this little exercise…
Banded Tricep Extensions
I don’t know why these never crossed my mind before, considering how much I already use and love bands, but I am happy that the idea finally slapped me in the face.
This movement is perfect for anyone looking for a different Tricep Exercise to do. Here are a few reasons to give it, and bands in general, a try.
Minimum Equipment Needed
In the video, I use my squat cage to harness the bands down, but really any sturdy object will work. I could easy use the jack-pole that supports the roof and guys who train in their college dorm room could use their bed, desk, or a door knob.
Great Value in Bands
Bands are sort of expensive I guess, running from $20 to $40 apiece, but when you consider how versatile they are, the price per exercise plummets. I use bands for tons of different ways. Here’s an older clip using bands in a different exercise pairing, Upper Body Finisher: Push-ups and Pull-aparts.
Easy to Set-up
It takes about 10 seconds to tie the loop-knot between the two bands and 2 seconds to wrap them around the sturdy object.
Little Space Required
Using the purple bands I only needed to step back away from the tie-down about two feet and that was enough tension. And if you were in a tighter space, all you’d have to do is choke up on the bands and you’d be set.
The main difference, functionally-speaking, between this movement and Kick-backs is that there is tension on the muscle the entire time. Momentum is very little of a factor as long as you concentrate on minimizing it. I was mainly just demonstrating reps in the video, but when I have done these in my workouts, I’ve focused on performing them more strictly.
This is just the start of what is possible with bands. If you get a set I am sure you’ll be able to think up a ton more stuff you can do with them.
In closing, don’t get tunnel vision in your training. Take a moment to think things through when you are stuck on something, because the answer might be as obvious as replacing the normal implement with a band. Awesome.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
All the best in your training,
P.S. There are many good Training Programs out there, but I feel the most complete one is Smitty’s AMD. Check it out below:
Programming Your Movements for Muscle Gains
In Part I of this Build Muscle The Right Way Article Series, I spoke about the three most important keys I use for building muscle and gaining strength at the same time: Multi-joint Movements, Training for Power and Speed, and Working for Muscular Balance. You can read Part I here: Keys to Muscle Building.
Sample Upper Body Training Split
In Part I, I put a lot of emphasis on maintaining antagonistic balance so that you do not develop muscular imbalances that will cause you trouble later on down the road. Also as I stated Part I, if you perform your complementary Push and Pull movements on the same day, it can be easier to keep everything balanced. However, because I spend so much time training for Grip Strength, I run out of time in order to accomplish everything I like to do, so I split the two days up. Lately, my split has looked like this:
- Week 1 – Day 1: Push, Week 1 – Day 2: Pull, Week 1 – Day 3: Lower, Week 1 – Day 4: Grip Specific
- Week 2 – Day 1: Pull, Week 2 – Day 2: Push, Week 2 – Day 3: Lower, Week 2 – Day 4: Grip Specific
In other words, I go Push, Pull, Lower, Grip for the first week and then flip flop the Push and Pull so it goes Pull, Push, Lower, Grip the second week.
Sample Upper Body Push Workout
Here is a recent workout I did for Upper Body Push. This workout took place on a Monday. It was followed by an Upper Body Pull Day on Tuesday and then a Lower Body Day on Thursday. One week later, I followed the schedule and did my Upper Body Pull Day first and the Upper Body push day second, etc.
Optimally, the order of this day would go like this:
1. Overhead Power Movement: Requires the most skill and energy, so it should take place first
2. Bench / Incline Bench: Because the body is supported on the bench, even after doing a big movement like the Overhead Variations, I still feel strong on the bench going second.
3. Auxiliary Bench Movement: Examples could be Speed Bench Against Bands, Incline Bench, Dips – All these are awesome, especially if your shoulders are feeling good.
4. Isolation Movement: If isolation movements are your thing, you can include them here or you can do another auxiliary movement, work on the rotator cuffs, or bring up a weakness in your upper body (triceps, etc)
On this day, I started off with Bench Press, although often I will actually start off with Overhead Press, especially if I am using the Log. I was able to work up to an unassisted single of 365 on the Bench Press, for the first time in about a year. My all time best is 405 with a spotter.
Speed Bench Against Bands
In order to perform this one correctly and get the most out of it, you should be moving the bar much quicker than this. I should have either used lighter bands or lightened the bar weight, but I did not.
My back was feeling a bit seized up after the heavy benching, because I was actually arching pretty hard for me. That is about all the angle I get. If I worked on my thoracic mobility more, I think I could get a better arch. Anyway, because my back was tight, I stuck with Military Press instead of a more powerful movement. Like I said, I like to do a Push Jerk, Push Press or a straight out Jerk movement first, but it didn’t work out that way this week.
Gironda Lateral Raise Complex
This is a combination I never even knew about until I reviewed the book, Vince Gironda, Legend and Myth. In that book he has what he calls the 8 Sets of 8 Keep-You-Honest Workout and the finisher for Upper Body Day is Side Laterals followed immediately by what he calls the Dumbbell Swing, but I have affectionately called it the Pirate Ship. Regardless of what you call it, it mimics the movement of the Pirate Ship ride at the amusement park in the way the arms swing rhythmically back and forth.
I don’t want to say that this movement pairing or even that just doing the Pirate Ship movement “fixed” whatever was aching in my shoulder the last few weeks, but after doing it every week for roughly 6 weeks straight as my finisher for my Upper Body push day, my shoulders have felt outstanding! I was able to perform dips pain free, getting my rib cage to touch the cross-bar on my dip station for the first time I can remember in years, and I was able to Bench 365 touch-and-go style for the first time in ages. I encourage you to try this out. At the very least the combination pumps your shoulders with a very nice burn.
This is how I set up the strength training muscle building workouts. Because I work a variety of percentages of 1RM, a variety of speeds, and train volume as well, I have been fairly successful at building muscle and strength at the same time as long as I am eating enough calories, staying injury free, and getting enough sleep.
I have had several months in a row now where I have been free of lower back injuries so I have not missed many workouts and recently my strength levels and size have increased.
Now that the latest Grip Contest, Gripmas Carol 2011, is out of the way, I plan on adding conditioning work back into my weekly routine separate of my workouts and cleaning up my diet as well in an effort to trim down a bit and get just plain ripped to shreds in 2012.
If you want to watch some of the stuff that I do for conditioning and fat loss, I can certainly film it, but only if you are interested. I don’t know if this is something you want to see or not on my site, so please leave me a comment an let me know.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
For further information on building muscle, check out Smitty’s AMD Program by clicking the image below. This is one of the best Muscle Building Programs on the market, shares many of the same principles I am sharing here, and includes many other ways to keep you healthy and balanced in order to build muscle the right eway.